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GO TO 2040 launch event. If you haven't yet, don't forget to RSVP online or by phone at 312-676-7459 for the launch of the GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 13, 2010. At this very special event, CMAP and its partners will gather at the Harris Theater's Rooftop Terrace (map) at Millennium Park to begin the plan's all-important implementation phase. Earlier that day, the CMAP Board and MPO Policy Committee will vote on adoption of the plan. The event will begin with announcement of the plan's approval, with speakers including Board chairman Mayor Gerald Bennett of Palos Hills; Gary Hannig, Illinois Secretary of Transportation and MPO Policy Committee chairman; John A. Canning, Jr., chairman of The Chicago Community Trust executive committee; and myself.
A panel on GO TO 2040 and the urgency of long-range planning will follow. The panel will be moderated by WTTW program host Geoffrey Baer and includes Suzanne Malec-McKenna, commissioner of the City of Chicago's Department of Environment; Michael Moskow, board vice chair and senior fellow on the Global Economy at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; George Ranney, president and CEO of Chicago Metropolis 2020; Jesse Ruiz, chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education; and Samuel Skinner, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and former chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). We look forward to seeing you on October 13, to celebrate and more importantly to begin this crucial new phase of GO TO 2040.
CMAP meetings. The Planning Coordinating Committee met this week and unanimously approved recommending the adoption of GO TO 2040 to the CMAP Board and the MPO Policy Committee. The Board and the MPO will meet on October 13 to consider adopting the plan.
GO TO 2040 in the news. Crain's Chicago Business columnist Greg Hinz wrote about GO TO 2040 and its upcoming vote for adoption on October 13. Both Mayor Bennett and I were quoted in the article, discussing the importance of plan implementation. Chicago Tribune columnist Jon Hilkevitch also wrote about the CTA Red Line extension south, which is one of the major GO TO 2040 capital projects. The article highlights the community and infrastructure benefits of this project.
GreenTown Chicago. On October 13 and 14, the City of Chicago will sponsor GreenTown Chicago at Columbia College. CMAP will lead a GO TO 2040 workshop from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on the afternoon of October 14. Keynote speaker Philippe Cousteau will address global and local water issues and solutions. Registration available online.
Illinois Jobs Forum. On October 15, the Illinois Tax Foundation and Union League Club of Chicago will host "Creating and Retaining Jobs: A Forum on Illinois' Economic Future." I will participate in one of the forum's workshops, Growing the Illinois Economy, with Dick Longworth of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and John C. Austin, a non-resident senior fellow of the Brookings Institution. The forum will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Union League Club of Chicago. The cost is $50 in advance and $60 at the door, including lunch. Learn more information in this brochure.
Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge open houses. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will host two public meetings in Illinois for input on the potential bi-state Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge. The first meeting will be held on October 12 at the McHenry County Government Center Administration Building, and the second will be held on October 13 at the Lost Valley Visitor Center in Ringwood. Both public meetings will run from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
South Side Health and Wellness. On October 24, the Chicago Humanities Festival will host a panel, The South Side Health and Vitality Studies: Body and Community Wellness. Dr. Eric Whitaker oversees the Urban Health Initiative, a partnership between the University of Chicago Medical Center and community doctors, clinics, and hospitals to "address and improve the long-term health of South Side residents. Dr. Whitaker will lead the panel to dicuss the ramifications of the study's findings and impact of quality health care delivery. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door; teachers and students get in free. The panel will take place from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the University of Chicago's Mandell Hall.
Solar Market Transformation Conference. On October 29, a conference on solar market transformation will be held in Normal, IL. Organized by the Center for Renewable Energy at Illinois State University, the Midwest Renewable Energy Association, and the Green Institute at Heartland Community College, presentations will cover solar resources, economics, technology, marketplace, partnerships, and more. The conference is intended for mayors, city planners, council members, and the general public. A conference agenda and registration are available online, or call 309-268-8160 to register by phone.
Snow and Ice workshop. McHenry County's Division of Water Resources and Department of Transportation will host two workshops on winter snow and ice control; the first will occur on October 22 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and the second will be offered on November 5 at the same time. The workshop will encourage "sensible salting practices without compromising safety." Registration must be received by October 17, and the registration form and more information is available online.
News and Other Announcements
Global water conference hosted. On September 30, CMAP’s Tim Loftus hosted 22 water and other natural resource managers from 19 countries who are traveling in the U.S. through the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program. The program theme for this group is “Water Resources Protection in the U.S.” Dr. Loftus presented the findings of Water 2050 and his perspective on the future of water supply and demand in our region. Thanks for WorldChicago for inviting Dr. Loftus to host this event.
IT funding available. The Microsoft Elevate America Community Initiative announced a request for proposals (RFP) to contribute $4 million in cash and up to $6 million in software and technology skills training curriculum over two years. The funding is available for nonprofits that provide workforce training and employment assistance in their communities. Interested organizations must apply by October 8, 2010, and successful applicants will be announced January, 2011. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
TIGER grants. U.S. DOT received nearly 1,000 applications for $600 million in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II grants, reports the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Journal. U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood believes the many applications show the "backlog of needed infrastructure improvements and the desire for more-flexible funds." TIGER II planning grants were offered alongside the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) $40 million in Community Challenge Planning Grants, a good step in coordinating investments at the federal level.
Capital investment in local transportation. As part of the state capital bill Illinois Jobs Now, $100 million will be distributed to local officials for infrastructure improvements at the municipal, township, and county levels; to create jobs; and to improve public safety, according to this State of Illinois press release. Within northeastern Illinois, $59 million to go to Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties.
Commute times across the U.S. The CEOs for Cities released a report comparing U.S. metro areas by commute times. According to the report, Chicago commuters the least amount of time in their cars, even though Chicago has the nation's second worst congestion. In an interview with Chicago Public Radio, Jim LaBelle of Chicago Metropolis 2020 said, however, that "it takes more than one measure to get a picture of a region. And this is a helpful one, I wouldn't necessarily use it as the only one." The report concludes that urban planning "ultimately matters more than sheer volume of traffic on the roads."
Photo contest deadline extended. WaterSense is collecting water-efficient landscape photos to showcase in their national photo gallery, and the deadline for submissions is October 15, 2010. Residents, communities, and companies are encouraged to participate. For more information and complete submission instructions visit the WaterSense website.
Green Signals. This week, CMAP’s transportation operations blog featured the State of the Practice in Highway Access Management report, which reviews the current practice, possible hurdles, and potential advances to highway access management programs at the state and local level. The blog featured another report, Traffic Flow and Road User Impacts of the Collapse of the I-35 West Bridge over the Mississippi River, which examines the impact the I-35 West bridge collapse on August 1, 2007, had on travel behavior in the Twin cities area.
BRT brownbag. On October 7 at noon, CMAP will host a special brownbag presentation by Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) expert Cliff Henke. RSVP to Yesenia Ambriz at email@example.com.
CNU-Illinois conference. Also on October 7, the Congress for New Urbanism's Illinois chapter will host its 4th Annual Statewide Conference, Rethinking Stalled Development in Chicago: Where Do We Go From Here? Click here for more information, and registration is available online.
Small Business Week. From October 11 to 15, Crain's Chicago Business will sponsor its first annual Small Business Week. A range of educational and business development activities will be held, including the launch of the Small Business Census, a "data-driven exercise" to show new and interesting findings about small business impact on the overall business community. That week's edition of Crain's will feature a Focus section on small business. Partly because it coincides with the October 13 GO TO 2040 launch, CMAP was pleased to assist Crain's with some data (from Dun & Bradstreet) and analysis that reinforce how important the plan is to our region's economy.
Stormwater management grants. Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are due December 15, 2010, for the Illinois Green Infrastructure Grant Program for Stormwater Management (IGIG), with approximately $5 million in funding available. The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) will host three workshops for prospective applicants to learn more about the program. The final workshop will take place on October 8 in East Hazel Crest. For more information, contact Josh Ellis of MPC (firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-863-6045). CMAP, along with several partners, served on an advisory committee for IEPA that helped shape this grant program. Additional information can be found online.
Moving Forward Together. Mercy Housing will host its annual event, Moving Forward Together, on October 5 at Swissotel in Chicago. To address the regional foreclosure and housing crisis, Mercy Housing is working to leverage $1 billion over seven years to facilitate the acquisition, rehab, and reoccupation of 2,500 foreclosed homes; develop or preserve 5,000 affordable apartments, board-up and protect 4,500 vacant homes; and create 8,000 jobs. Purchase tickets for the event online.
Water utility conservation rates workshop. Two interactive workshops on water utility conservation rates in the Great Lakes will be hosted in the Midwest in the next two months. Funded by the Great Lakes Protection fund and led by the Great Lakes Commission, these workshops are targeted for water utility managers/finance officers, public works directors, city managers, and elected/appointed Officials. Attendees will learn why water conservation rates should be part of a sound utility management strategy, identify barriers to changing rates, and understand the benefits of conservation pricing and how to keep water revenues stable. Attendees will also receive a handbook about revising rates. The first will take place on October 12 in Ann Arbor, MI, with the second on November 8 in Racine, WI. The cost of $35 per person includes lunch.
Water forum. From 8:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on October 22, CMAP and Wildman Harrold will co-host a forum titled “New Challenges Facing Municipal Water Suppliers.” This is the first in a series of discussion forums that seek to follow up on key issues highlighted in Water 2050, the northeastern Illinois regional water supply/demand plan. Representatives of U.S. EPA and IEPA are scheduled to participate.
Pedestrian Safety Workshops. From October 26 to 27 and October 28 to 29, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will be conducting two two-day workshops, “Designing Streets for Pedestrian Safety,” in the Chicago area. These IDOT- and CMAP-sponsored workshops will address pedestrian safety issues through design and engineering solutions. Instructors will cover the significance of land-use, sidewalk and walkway design, signs, signals, and crosswalks. Participants will also take part in a field exercise at a nearby intersection. These workshops, funded by FHWA, will be an opportunity for planners and engineers to learn about strategies for addressing pedestrian crashes and design-related barriers to pedestrian travel in our communities. Information about the workshops is posted at www.cmap.illinois.gov/bike-ped/pedestrian-and-bicycle-safety. The first will be hosted in Schaumburg, and the second will take place in CMAP's offices in the Tower. PDH units are available for this course for the engineering community.
SRTS workshops underway. CMAP is working with Active Trans and TY Lin International to present the Safe Routes National Course in eight northeastern Illinois communities. The courses are community-based workshops bringing together schools, local agencies, and communities to plan for safe routes to school at the community level. CMAP is presenting these workshops to assist northeastern Illinois communities in the development of School Travel Plans, a requirement for applying for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funding. To date, workshops have been scheduled in Elmhurst, Tinley Park, Lynwood, Winfield, Batavia, and Steger from September 10 through October 22. Information about attending these workshops, scheduling a workshop for your community, and attending related “how to apply for safe routes funding” workshops is posted at www.cmap.illinois.gov/bikeped/bikeped.aspx. The Illinois SRTS program is a federally funded program, administered by IDOT, that supports projects and programs that enable and encourage walking and bicycling to and from school.
Highway program comments. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) Division of Highways is seeking comments from regional planning organizations on the proposed 2012-17 multi-year highway program. Comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on November 1. Also, at the following meetings, people may comment on specific projects that might be included in the program, the overall performance of the highway system, regional transportation priorities, and the effectiveness of the public outreach program:
- Tuesday, October 5, 4:00 p.m., Lincoln Way High School, 1801 E. Lincoln Hwy., New Lenox
- Wednesday, October 6, 3:00 p.m., Holiday Inn, 4070 E. Main St., St. Charles